Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country’s information infrastructure was the target of almost 25 million cyber-attacks during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, as France crowned the international football tournament.
The Russian leader made the remarks in a meeting with security services in capital Moscow on Sunday evening, a few hours after France won its second World Cup in history by defeating Croatia in an entertaining final of the 2018 version of the matches in Russia.
“During the period of the World Cup, almost 25 million cyber-attacks and other criminal acts on the information structures in Russia, linked in one way or another to the World Cup, were neutralized,” Russia's TASS news agency quoted Putin as saying.
The Russian leader, whose comments were reported by the Kremlin on Monday, provided no further details regarding the nature or possible origins of the cyber-attacks.
“Behind this (World Cup) success lies huge preparatory, operational, analytical and information work, we operated at maximum capacity and concentration,” added Putin.
Russia hosted the 21st FIFA quadrennial World Cup from June 14 to July 15 in 11 cities and 12 stadiums. This was the first time that the World Cup was being held in Eastern Europe, and the 11th time that it had been held in Europe. It was also the first World Cup to use the video assistant referee (VAR) system.
The national football team of Russia made it to the quarterfinals of this edition, where Croatia edged them out in a 4-2 penalty shootout on July 7 at the Fisht Arena in Sochi.
France on Sunday lifted the trophy 20 years after it won the world Cup on home soil with captain by Didier Deschamps, the man who coached the current French team. Deschamps becomes the third man in the World Cup history after Brazil's Mario Zagallo and Germany's Franz Beckenbauer to win the games both as player and coach.